The cryptic Junin rail. Photo by: Mike Parr.
Few people have ever laid eyes on the Junin rail (Laterallus tuerosi). Located in a single lake in Peru, the well-camouflaged bird hides spends its time deep in marshes to avoid predators. This behavior has also allowed to largely avoid human onlookers, making it one of the world’s most difficult birds to observe.
“More people have climbed Everest and visited space than have seen this amazing creature. For me, this event was equivalent in ornithological terms to finding the Holy Grail. Frankly, I never expected to see this bird in my lifetime, let alone photograph it,” said Mike Parr, Vice President of American Bird Conservancy (ABC), who recently photographed the Junin rail in a statement, adding that, “This gives us real hope that this endangered species can continue to
Junin rail. Photo by: Mike Parr.
Listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List, the Junin rail is imperiled by habitat loss, pollution, a nearby dam, and invasive trout which may be depleting native prey for the Junin rail.
This particular Junin rail was discovered by using tape playback. It was banded, photographed, and released safely.
Junin Lake is also the only home for the Critically Endangered Junin grebe (Podiceps taczanowskii) and the Endangered Lake Junin giant frog (Batrachophrynus macrostomus).
Junin rail habitat. Photo by: Mike Parr.